CRIM. CASE NO. 137476
Victime / Demandeurs de la première instance
Défendeurs / Répondants de la première instance
Résumé des faits
On 17 February 2008, AAA, a 16-year-old girl, escaped from home and her friend N. brought her to the house of the accused where AAA stayed until 21 February 2008. During the very first night, AAA was sexually abused by the accused and she also found out that the house was a prostitution den. During these few days in the accused’s house, the accused pandered AAA to two customers for PHP 200 each. AAA was rescued on 22 February 2008 by the Barangay Security Forces.
The accused acted as a pimp to at least two other girls (including N.), aged 15 and 16.
Section 6 of Republic Act No. 9208
Section 6. Qualified Trafficking in Persons. – The following are considered as qualified trafficking:
(a) When the trafficked person is a child;
(b) When the adoption is effected through Republic Act No. 8043, otherwise known as the “Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995” and said adoption is for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
(c) When the crime is committed by a syndicate, or in large scale. Trafficking is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against three or more persons, individually or as a group;
(d) When the offender is an ascendant, parent, sibling, guardian or a person who exercises authority over the trafficked person or when the offense is committed by a public officer or employee;’
(e) When the trafficked person is recruited to engage in prostitution with any member of the military or law enforcement agencies;
(f) When the offender is a member of the military or law enforcement agencies; and
(g) When the reason or on occasion of the act of trafficking in persons, the offended party dies, becomes insane, suffers mutilation or is afflicted with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
On the principle of presumption of innocence, the Court stated that the accused should be presumed innocent until the prosecution presented the quantum of evidence required to overcome such presumption. Once the presumption of innocence is overcome, the defence bears the burden of evidence to show reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused. “Reasonable doubt is that doubt engendered by an investigation to let the mind rest easy upon the certainty of guilt. Absolute certainty of guilt is not demanded by the law to convict a criminal charge, but moral certainty is required as to every proposition of proof requisite to constitute the offense.”
The Court noted that the accused had merely denied the acts, without offering plausible evidence to convince the Court that he was innocent. “Negative and self-serving denial deserves no weight in law when unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence.” The Court gave full credit to AAA’s testimony, and took into account a medical report confirming that AAA had been raped.
The Court held that the accused had taken advantage of AAA’s vulnerability by harbouring and receiving her in his house for purposes of prostitution and sexual exploitation.
CRIM. CASE NO. 137476